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Old 06-28-2012, 04:58 PM   #1
joannesmith
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Default Need some tips / advice

I've been making my own ginger soda for several months now and we all enjoy it ... however I would like to get some advice from those who know more than me, just to make sure there is not something better I should be doing.

I made a starter last winter. I see instructions that differ as to how to start a new batch. Some instructions I read will say that I must keep feeding the starter and start a new batch with the starter. Some say I can ditch the starter and simply use a cup or so of the previous batch as the starter for a new batch (1c per gallon).
Q: which should I do and why?

I have been using a cup from the previous batch.

Per gallon of water: I boil a half gallon of water with 2oz of fresh grated ginger and 1 1/2c white sugar. I let it cool and then add the cup of starter from the last batch and the juice of two lemons. This goes into a glass gallong jug with more water to fill it to the top. I let it sit on the counter for a few days, strain it, and then put it into heavy plastic juice bottles (the 48oz size I think?). We like a bit more flavor, so I put in a few sliced strawberries into each jug before capping tightly. I then set these jugs on the floor (no counter space) for a day or two until it's really bubbly. You can see the jugs expanding and looking like they want to burst. After a day or two, I take the berries out and put the jugs into the fridge to stop (or slow down?) fermentation.

Sometimes it seems our soda tastes too much on the alcohol side. Today I read something about 'alcohol yeast' ... could my soda be off balance somehow? If so, what's the remedy? A new starter? That's the only thing I could think of.

It seems if we drink a cup or more we get a tiny bit of a 'buzz' for a few minutes and then it goes away. I think there are differeing views on what this 'buzz' comes from. I've heard it said that this is a vitamin-B buzz. I used to take a vitamin b supplement under my tongue and the reaction was pretty similar. I've also heard it said that this might be an alcohol buzz. I used to drink alcohol and the reaction is a bit different and lasts quite a bit longer than a few minutes.

Any thoughts? Along the same lines - does anyone have a reference they can point me to that has nutrition information on these drinks?

Anything else to share? Tips? Am I doing all right?

Thank you for your time.

Joanne

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Old 06-29-2012, 09:08 PM   #2
KevinM
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Yeast (no matter if it's bread yeast, wine yeast or beer yeast) eat sugar, and produce co2 and alcohol. Yeast will continue to do so until either all sugar has been consumed or the alcohol or pressure get too high to continue (usually alcohol becomes the limiting factor). The cold will slow down the yeast process, but it'll still be converting sugar to alcohol and co2.

So using yeast to carbonate a drink this way does create alcohol. The level of alcohol is fairly minimal, far below that of a beer for example, but is there. Dead yeast does contain b vitamins. Live yeast will still be alive in your digestive system and produce co2 in your internals.

Beyond that, it should be fine the way you do it. Some people prefer avoiding the alcohol and use a co2 tank to carbonate the soda.

As for the starter, it looks like you're just taking natural yeasts from the air. Either way might be good, but hopefully someone chimes in with more. I'm used to seeing both process for things like sourdough bread.

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Old 06-30-2012, 02:45 AM   #3
joannesmith
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Thank you Kevin. Are there dead and live yeasts in the soda then?

Sourdough ... I just started making that a month or so ago. I'm not quite sure I have it perfected yet but I'm learning.

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Old 07-02-2012, 02:35 AM   #4
KevinM
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I think both. I don't know the ratio, but there would be some dead yeast in the drink if yeast is being used. If I had to guess, I'd guess that it would contain 75%+live yeast though.

Also... I guess you may want to find out how small quantities of diluted alcohol affects your system.

And after considering some things:
I can see that if you left a "starter" alone, then it would probably become more like a beer or wine (depending on how much sugar there was) and the alcoholic content should be able to kill off some stuff, though there are things that will eat vinegar and it could still oxidize if left open.

The batch to batch starter is interesting, but I'd consider sanitation issues, depending on how often the batches are made and what might be carried along from batch to batch.

How did you happen to create the initial batch by the way? Did you use storebought yeast? Or just let it sit in the open?

most people use either bread or wine yeast to make sodas (unless they use co2) so they start fresh each time.

If you have a ginger beer plant (which is similar to kefir's grains or kombucha's Scooby) then you're really just adding more to the batch anyways.

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Kegged&Ready: GF Orange&Coriander, GF Honey Lager, GF chocolate ale, GF English ale, Island mist (zinfandel), Island mist (cbry malbec).
Bottled: Infected Mead, Dry Hard ciders, Accidental Sorghumwine, various unnamed.

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